Social Media Platforms

Published: 12/20/2019

There are too many social media platforms. I can hardly even keep track of my own social media accounts. And there's a vast ocean of services I have never even touched. An even vaster sea of one's I haven't even heard of. Now that I am a social media influencer I've decided I should map out the landscape. If I'm serious about making my mark on society then being an active user of every social media provider seems like a prerequisite. I'll start with the platforms I've used. Maybe in a later post I'll survey the rest of the landscape.

FACEBOOK: This is the first social media site I used. It's so central in the space in my awareness that when I first wrote the previous sentence I wrote "this is the first facebook site I used". I made an account my senior year of high school in 2012 at my friend Erik's insistence. I credit him with basically ruining my life. I remember back then I felt strongly that I needed a better reason than "everyone is doing it" to do something. He persuaded me that I was wrong. I was right then but now its too late. Anyway as of today Facebook has 2.45 Billion monthly active users. At the same time it feels like no one really wants to use it. At this point I only use their messenger app and really wish I had the clout to transition my active group chats to some other service. When I occasionally scroll the newsfeed I see the same people saying the same shit since 2016. It's sad really. Anyway if you want to talk to me on messenger I think you can find me with this link.

INSTAGRAM: I got into the gram a little late in history. I used it for about a semester with the account RiceBroccoliChicken. Every morning I posted my breakfast which consisted principally of rice, broccoli and chicken. I stopped because my brilliant performance art wasn't getting the traction it deserved. And also because I was beginning to feel that social media was an evil corrupting force. Nowadays I eat eggs potatoes and tomatoes everyday for breakfast. I half want to see if that handle is available. I wonder if jaek or ja3k are available. I'm pretty pessimistic with their cool 1 billion users. I'm not sure square pictures are my medium of choice for self expression though. I'm more of a hand crafted html with shitty css kind of guy.

TWITTER: Somehow twitter only has 126 million daily users which is about a tenth of Facebook's. This is surprising to me since from my perspective Twitter seems to have a much larger effect on the zeitgeist. I'm doing my part with two twitter accounts. My first JaketheKoenig only made a few tweets which I would be embarrassed by if I had much emotional connection to who I was in the spring of 2012. What can I say, the sunrise sure was beautiful February 29th, 2012. My other twitter, hail_corporate, only has one tweet. I made the twitter thinking it would be fun to tweet at brand hashtags. There are a lot of tweeting based calls to action in the world and I thought it could be fun to respond to them. But I only did it once at Moe's. I guess there are a lot of things that I imagine to be fun and then never actually do.

REDDIT: My username on reddit is OverridingApathy. I guess I was in a sort of emo mood when I made it. This account was also made in 2012. I guess 2012 was a year I had a lot of optimism about social media and its ability to improve my life. I think ultimately I let a sort of embarrassment around having a public persona prevent me from actually making any content and I sort of regret it. It's not too late now though obviously! It seems reddit has about 300 to 400 million monthly active users but not very many actual accounts. According to this site only about 3 million. One of my favorite things about reddit is the frequency of which studies bashing facebook make it to the front page. And all the comments blame these niche differences between their community and Facebook as if they are not engaged in essentially the same activity as facebookers. Briefly scrolling through the front page I can almost feel the depression oozing out of it. But I guess that's not really how you're supposed to use any of these sites. You're supposed to use your own agency to curate what the website shows you until you get it to a state where it makes you happy and informed. I don't think anyone really does that either but maybe people can get it to some kind of middle ground.

HACKERNEWS: Another social media site with users who would likely deny it. I have ja3k on the site and two comments. Someone contradicted my second comment in a pedantic way and I haven't been back. Just kidding I've been back but purely in a scrolling capacity. Unlike the previous sites I think this is a site where one can hope to learn something. But I'm not really interested in learning more about tech. There's some math content shared here but its hard for me to learn from that content.

LESSWRONG: Maybe this is more of a blogging site than a social media site. It doesn't have a concept of friends or sublesswrongs which go a long way towards actually building the community which earns the adjective social. I think it achieves a nice social community principally by being very small. I first heard about them in the spring of 2019 at a magic tournament. Actually my college roommate told me about them in 2012 the year everything happened but I never listened to that guy. I have jaek and I've written two blog posts. I wrote them as part of MSFP back when I used to think about AI Safety. They are the people who got me thinking about it. But it sort of wore off.

CHESS.COM: Don't tell me this isn't a social media site. It has friends and messaging and user's have walls. It's the quintessential social media site. I'm ja3k. Challenge me to some 3|0 whenever you wanna fight me. It seems to have about 20 million active users which makes it a pretty thriving community if you ask me. They're sort of evil in a way though. Morally I should probably support their open source doppelganger, lichess. I'm also on lichess with the same handle if you wanna fight me there. Really come at me bro.

SNAPCHAT: How the mighty have fallen. They seem to have only about 50 million users. I'll confirm that I have a snapchat but I'm not going to bother to post a handle. If you sent me a snap I wouldn't see it since I don't currently have the app on my phone.

TWITCH: I'm ja3k here too! I've made two to three streams to date. I remember figuring out how to stream from my work computer at Palantir way back in 2015. I streamed myself playing some agar.io. It was fun. I still play it sometimes. I also streamed myself playing some mtg in 2016. I never got really into it because I found I don't really like talking and playing. I just love getting into some kind of meditative state where I don't really think about my plays. Probably not the best from an improvement perspective. They have between 2 and 3 million monthly BROADCASTERS which really shows the absurd scale of their operation. I've been thinking about streaming myself doing some programming contests. But I'd have to get a lot better at talking as I do a cognitively demanding activity.

YOUTUBE: Oh yeah the king of social media. The second largest after Facebook. I have an account here but I don't have any videos. If I was to get into twitching I'd probably post recordings here though.

I think this about wraps it up for online communities I'm a part of. I'm pretty sure even these 10 aren't exhaustive. Maybe next I'll write a breakdown of major social mediators I'm not a part of. Just of the top of my head I've never used: Pinterest or TikTok. Google+ and Myspace are dead. I've only ever consumed media on medium. And I'm sure there are dozens of major sites with <50 million users that would be interesting to learn about. I think I had this perspective in 2016 that social media was "out"; that it was over. But I think we're really in the beginning. And most of these sites won't be the most popular 10 years from now. I've isolated myself in a way by not using these aggregators to communicate with the world and I sort of regret it. Now that I have this site I think I should start seeking to export my opinions to the wider world. I guess I said something like that in my first post. I've been moving pretty slowly. But hopefully eventually I'll get somewhere.